So, why hit overweight and underweight sand or air filled balls around?
It builds on the theory that your muscles need both strength and speed stimuli to learn to consistently move an object faster. In our case, move the bat faster which in turn moves through the ball faster when we end up hitting a normal cricket ball.
Hitting the 180g ball makes the bat moving through ball much more difficult. So the body has to adapt to get a positive result (after all, it weighs nearly 20% more) and we learn to hit with more force.
Another way of doing this is to increase the weight of the bat. In baseball they also use a “donut-shaped” bat weight which slides down the handle of the bat and can increase the bat weight by up to ½ a kilo.
The underweight ball (120g) allows the bat to move through the ball faster but with less force. So, combine the two, and your bat speed develops through a combination of strength and speed stimuli.
How to use the sand and air filled weighted balls
We have used this principle heaps in our power hitting programme alongside technical intervention and now we are using sand filled balls to groove good habits in more traditional shots too.
You will note from the video that the snippets from a session yesterday features some basic front foot drive work and then moves on to some specific power hitting drills.
In terms of power hitting, we are beginning to notice some good results in hand and bat speed. The weighted ball work is part of the programme that is achieving those results.
The other thing that the players at school are beginning to do is use the weighted balls as part of their individual preparation ahead of walking to the pitch.
I have posed the question recently “why do we warm up to bowl and field, but not to bat?”
So the U14s have decided to come up with their own preparation plan for the waiting batters which mixes the following elements:
Activation drills (footwork)
Observation (to inform their method and game plan when they get to the middle)
Weighted ball shots relevant to the game situation
The benefit of the weighted balls is that they don’t go very far at all off the bat meaning that you can give the ball a good old whack and it stays safely within a close proximity.
This also means that the preparing batters can still be close to the action, can still watch the game and the batters in the middle still feel the support of their team mates on the side of the ground.
The batters are engaged and ready to go when they walk to the middle.
This never guarantees success. But it does give them the best chance of success. And that has to be a good thing.
Get yourself a set of weighted (sand or air filled) balls. You won’t regret it.
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